22 Jun 2010

Record settlement over ING funds

10:52 pm on 22 June 2010

Thousands of investors left out of pocket when two funds marketed by ING and ANZ National Bank were frozen more than two years ago may now get some of their money back.

The Commerce Commission investigated whether ANZ and ING misrepresented the risk involved. On Tuesday it announced a record $45 million settlement.

Commission chair Mark Berry says the investigation found there was sufficient evidence that ANZ and ING may have misrepresented the risk of the two funds, ING's Diversified Yield and Regular Income Funds.

The funds collected about $700 million from 15,000 investors before being frozen in March 2008.

The investigation found there is enough evidence to prosecute but Dr Berry says it was decided an out of court settlement is the best outcome for investors.

Not all investors will be included in the settlement. Only those who held units in the funds at the date of suspension are eligible.

The actual payment process will be confirmed within 20 days and it is hoped payments will be made by November.

The commission's Auckland fair trading manager, Graham Gill, told Checkpoint the investigation found ANZ and ING probably misrepresented the risk of the two funds to customers but decided against court action.

Still 'out of pocket'

Frozen Funds Group spokesperson Andrew Davidson says it may be a record settlement but it won't instil any confidence back in the investment community.

The group represents a group of small investors who lost money in the ING funds.

Mr Davidson says most investors will still be out of pocket.

He says, however, he can understand the commission's position, that court cases can be drawn out and expensive.